She was a black-haired beauty with big, dark eyes

by the Night Writer

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the real Bob Seger is now on iTunes in epic fashion, rolling me away with a 26-song collection entitled “Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets” for just $9.99. And just like Bob when he climbed out of his Corvette to watch the long train roll by in the classic video, I’ve had some time to think about his music and my life.

I liked Seger well enough when I was growing up but I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan. Perhaps it was easy to take him for granted because he was so ubiquitous.  It seemed as if he always had a song on the charts and playing in the background of most of my memories from my teens and into my 30s. They were songs of wheels and women, of loving and leaving, and of doing whatever it takes to have a good time that became an American bushido of masculinity for an era. The style was gritty but not too deep and it was a match made in Marketing when Chevy hitched it’s truck line to the Detroit-born and bred Seger’s “Like a Rock” hit, almost turning the song into a parody of itself. It did sell a lot of quarter- and half-ton trucks, though, and Seger sold a million tons of records as Americans found a certain resonance, real or hoped-for, in the words and images.

Yeah, I could picture myself taking a look down that westbound road and making a choice to get up with the sun and be gone with the wind all the way to Katmandu (but not to Fire Lake); of being rock hard and hard-rocking, and thinking that while I wasn’t good-looking I wasn’t shy and wasn’t afraid to look a girl in they eye, even if they all wanted to change me

Somehow it seems like yesterday, but it was long ago.

Because somewhere along the line I wanted to change, needed to change, and met the woman who could do that, the woman I could love and never leave, the one who still causes me to sit up at night marveling at the traces she’s left on my soul.

And those, my friends, are the memories that truly make me a wealthy soul. And I still believe in my dreams.

 For my money, “Like a Rock”  is one of the most creative and well-crafted music videos of all time. Though Seger was in his 40s when the video was released, it resonates more for me in my 50s. 


Working on those Night Memes

by Night Writer

Picked this up from Mitch at Shot in the Dark.

1. The phone rings. Who will it be? Nine times out of ten, someone wanting to talk to Tiger Lilly.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Well, I used to put the cart in one of the parking lot corrals. Now I’ve got “people” who get the groceries.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I used to be all talker, now I find myself listening more and picking my spots. For some reason, people seem happier to see me coming now.

4. Do you take compliments well? I take them well, medium and rare.

5. Do you play Sudoku? I’m a binge Sudoku player. I’ll go a long time not playing and then play madly for a time, then another long lay-off.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? As soon as I got that “hibernate” thing figured out I’d be cool.

7. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? One time, at band camp….no, never.

8. What was your favorite game as a kid? Depended on the season: in our neighborhood we played football in the fall, basketball through the winter and spring (shoveling snow off the asphalt driveways and getting our hands blackened from dribbling the ball on the wet tar). I was also addicted to the Sports Illustrated Football table game.

9. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew she was married, would you? Absolutely…if it was my wife.

10. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? How do you think I got where I am today?

11. Do you like to pursue or be pursued? Being pursued, I guess, but you might want to check out #15 first.

12. Use three words to describe yourself? I was wrong.

13. Do any songs make you cry? “I Wish You Where Here” by Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers.

14. Are you continuing your education? Who isn’t? Only the grades we get are different now.

15. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Revolver, semi-auto, shotgun and rifle. I would love to try a muzzle-loader and a fully-automatic some time.

16. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? No, but I carry one of my wife and daughters acting silly.

17. How often do you read books? Every day.

18. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Yesterday I thought about the future. Today I think about the past. Tomorrow I’ll think about today.

19. What is your favorite children’s book? “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.

20.What color are your eyes? Bluer than robin’s eggs, someone once said.

21. How tall are you? Not tall enough, according to my BMI.

22. Where is your dream house located? In the heather, in sight of the ocean.

23. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? Either the kid holding the matches or my cell phone to call 911.

24. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? Can’t remember. I like the place, but there are so many other options.

25. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? The day’s still young; we’ll see.

26. Do you like mustard? Absolutely, and I always like to try something new. Watch out for the bright yellow stuff in England, though. It looks just like French’s, but it’s not!

The Meme-ing of my life

by the Night Writer

It’s been a week of distractions; you know, that thing called life. Big doings at work, new things at home and, oh yeah, my computer hard-drive died, my land-line went on the fritz and as part of that my DSL connection started working (or not working) sporadically. So. Got a new hard-drive (and more RAM while I was at it) for the PC, spent three days trying to get Qwest to come out and then just about every night this week I’ve been loading the hard-drive with a new operating system and Office suite, re-loading Norton, recovering files (including more than 1,000 iTunes songs) and so it’s been hard to concentrate enough to write about some of the big ideas I’ve got stirring in my head. Maybe next week. But since “life” has intruded this week, I might as well pick up on the “life missions accomplished” meme that is going around. The process here is bold-face the things you’ve done; my accompanying commentary is in italics. Oh, and there’s a little video surprise for you as well toward the end.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink. No, but I once bought ice cream for the entire girl’s softball team I was coaching.
02. Swam with wild dolphins.
03. Climbed a mountain. No, but I walked to the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and Squaw Peak in Phoenix, but those are just big, rocky hills.
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid.
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone. In a jacuzzi, and there was a fireplace nearby, too.
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it. Still do.
09. Hugged a tree. No, but I’ve bounced off a couple in my time.
10. Bungee jumped.
11. Visited Paris. I was there for my 21st birthday, in fact.
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise. Many a time, but not so much lately.
14. Seen the Northern Lights.
15. Gone to a huge sports game. Actually got paid to work the Super Bowl, two World Series games and an All-Star game at the Metrodome.
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa. I was there, but thought I might be the last amount of weight needed to tip it over completely so I didn’t climb.
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables. Yeah, but I still didn’t like them. Maybe I shouldn’t have given them names.
18. Touched an iceberg.
19. Slept under the stars. And woke up with a horse pawing at me with its hoof.
20. Changed a baby’s diaper.
21. Taken a trip on a hot air balloon.
22. Watched a meteor shower.
23. Got drunk on champagne. Ah, Paris.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity. My philosophy is that this is almost impossible.
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope.
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment.
27. Had a food fight.
28. Bet on a winning horse.
29. Asked out a stranger. Strangely enough, she said no.
30. Had a snowball fight. And let’s not dredge up that accident with the car.
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can.
32. Held a lamb.
33. Seen a total eclipse. Oh great, there goes that ear-worm again.
34. Ridden a roller coaster.
35. Hit a home run. Softball.
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking. Yes the first part, no to the second.
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day. How about for the whole last month I was England?
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment.
39. Had two hard drives for your computer. Sure, I’ve got two right now. Of course, one doesn’t work (see above).
40. Visited all 50 states. No, but I think I’m up to 37.
41. Taken care of someone who was s**tfaced. I quit counting a long time ago.
42. Had amazing friends.
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country.
44. Watched wild whales.
45. Stolen a sign.
46. Backpacked in Europe. Well, I did carry a backpack around in Spain this summer, but I don’t think that’s what they mean.
47. Taken a road-trip.
48. Gone rock climbing.
49. Midnight walk on the beach.
50. Gone sky diving.
51. Visited Ireland. And England, Scotland, Italy, France and Spain.
52. Been heartbroken for longer than when you were in love. No, but it was close.
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them. It’s not that uncommon in Europe.
54. Visited Japan.
55. Milked a cow.
56. Alphabetized your cds.
57. Pretended to be a superhero. One year my aunt sewed Superman pajamas for my brother, my cousins and I, with a reinforced “S” patch to stop bullets.
58. Sung karaoke.
59. Lounged around in bed all day.
60. Posed nude in front of strangers.
61. Gone scuba diving.
62. Kissed in the rain.
63. Played in the mud.
64. Played in the rain.
65. Gone to a drive-in theater. It might even have been rainy and muddy.
66. Visited the Great Wall of China.
67. Started a business.
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken. Looking good so far.
69. Toured ancient sites.
70. Taken a martial arts class. But I’ve taken Tiger Lilly to a number of them.
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight.
72. Gotten married.
73. Been in a movie.
74. Crashed a party.
75. Gotten divorced.
76. Gone without food for 5 days. I’ve gone 3 days several times, though. Deliberately.
77. Made cookies from scratch.
78. Won first prize in a costume contest.
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
80. Gotten a tattoo.
81. Rafted the Snake River.
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”.
83. Got flowers for no reason. Given, not received, anyway.
84. Performed on stage.
85. Been to Las Vegas. My advice: don’t risk more than you can afford to lose, whether it’s money, your life or your marriage.
86. Recorded music.
87. Eaten shark. Grilled, with tarragon. Mmmm.
88. Had a one-night stand. Yeah, but it lasted a week.
89. Gone to Thailand.
90. Bought a house. A few times.
91. Been in a combat zone.
92. Buried one/both of your parents.
93. Been on a cruise ship.
94. Spoken more than one language fluently.
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Live in a foreign country, even for a brief time. One semester in England.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour. I will when the Mall Diva starts her tour, though.
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars.
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country.
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over.
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge.
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking.
103. Had plastic surgery.
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived. Got out untouched because people were praying for me.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication. But for other people’s by-lines.
106. Lost over 100 pounds.
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback.
108. Piloted an airplane.
109. Petted a stingray. I would have scratched behind its ears but I couldn’t find them.
110. Broken someone’s heart. Unfortunately. I’m not proud of it.
111. Helped an animal give birth.
112. Won money on a T.V. game show.
113. Broken a bone. Only a little one.
114. Gone on an African photo safari.
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced.
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol. All three, but not at once.
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild. Had a roommate once who was an avid Morel hunter.
118. Ridden a horse. But not well. We were both relieved when it was over.
119. Had major surgery.
120. Had a snake as a pet.
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours. .
123. Visited non-US foreign countries.
124. Visited all 7 continents.
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days.
126. Eaten kangaroo meat.
127. Eaten sushi.

128. Had your picture in the newspaper.
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about.
130. Gone back to school.
131. Parasailed.
132. Petted a cockroach.
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes. Once.
134. Read The Iliad. Twice.
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school.
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Fish, and a couple of quail.
137. Skipped all your school reunions. Never been to one for high school or college.
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language.
139. Been elected to public office.
140. Written your own computer language.
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream.
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care.
143. Built your own PC from parts.
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you.
145. Had a booth at a street fair.
146: Dyed your hair.
147: Been a DJ.
148: Shaved your head.
149: Caused a car accident.
150: Saved someone’s life. Do souls count?

I’m it! I’m it!!!

by the Tiger Lilly

This is in lieu of Anorex[st]ics Inaneymous, which will be posted later.

I was tagged by the controller of Through The Illusion: the awesomely awesome of awesomeness Hayden Tompkins with the 7 Things meme. I will be tweaking this to make it, ‘7 Things That May Or May Not Be True About Me’ to throw all you stalkers and enemies off. Obviously, you are still sworn to secrecy. That being said, I will continue with the aforementioned meme.

1. If I find that someone has given away any of the secrets I will divulge here in complete confidentiality, I will make it my personal job to hunt you down and unleash my tamed (I guess you could call them cowed) ninja cows upon you. Then I will also have to hunt down the poor fool that you told the secrets to, and erase their memories, or something drastic like that.
Just kidding! (or am I?!?!?!?! Muahahahahahahahahaaaaa!!!!! *Ahem*)

2. I have had my appendix removed. I’ve found that that operation needs to be done to a few books, as well (especially the ones that have Appendix A, Appendix B, etc etc).

3. I took the crazy test, and the results came out as, ‘You are Paranoid Crazy!’ But you never would have guessed that.

4. I plan on traveling a lot when I get older. At some point, I’m going to save a lot of money, pack a few things, get into my car, and just drive with no particular destination in mind.

5. I have written a novel, and am working on the sequel.

6. Because I’m feeling an excess of rebellity and a superfluity of naughtiness, I’m only going to tag one person.

7. I tag: Sly the Family Rat. She has just told me she will post later this week.

Okay, there you go. Now you can decide if all was a lie, none was a lie, or if I put down a mixture of both. I hope this drives at least some of you insane (although, for some of you, it’s less than a drive and more of a short putt).

Ciao for now!

In your facebook

I have to confess I’m living a double-life. I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while now but a couple of weeks ago I finally got into the Facebook thing; mainly just so I could read what my daughters were putting on there. Of course, once the Facebook organism recognizes you it runs all of its tendrils out through your past and present in its proprietary way and starts re-connecting you with people. Which is fun, but leads to more time on-line writing notes and on walls, poking and tagging people and so on.

It’s kind of like getting a new pet. The thing about a new pet, however, is that no matter how cute it is, it’s still got to be fed. And if you’ve got other pets — like a blog, for instance — these want to be fed, too, and it can get kind of hairy trying to run back and forth between them. Then those long-lost friends want to get all caught up on your life, and get you all caught up on theirs, so they tag you with the “25 Things” Meme.

Well, my short answer to that is “Read My Blog!” because basically everything that’s gone on, or is going on, in my life shows up there in one way or another. But doing it that way is the War and Peace version (on DVD, with Director’s commentary). So I decided to do the Reader’s Digest version (albeit annotated), while simultaneously “feeding” both my Facebook page and my blog. Here then, is my “25 Things” thing, many with links to past blog-posts that provide the back-story to that “thing”.

1. I know a lot of words, but I can use just a few of them at a time if necessary.

2. I can’t access Facebook during the day because it’s blocked on my company computers.

3. Sometimes I can be a real smart-ass.

4. And sometimes I can be a fair (or, perhaps, unfair) poet.

5. A movie that I always have to stop and watch if I come across it while channel-surfing: Zulu.

6. I teach a monthly “Fundamentals in Film” class to a group of teenage boys, using popular films to illustrate timeless truths of character and honorable behavior (as opposed to the images of Homer Simpson and professional wrestlers they’re most often exposed to).

7. Sometimes, the movies and lessons come alive.

8. I’m in love with my wife!

9. I’m also Dad to the Bone.

10. My wife and I home-educate our children at the Stewart Academy for Girls.

11. And sometimes we get unexpected help and lessons ourselves.

12. And I’m still learning stuff:

13. I’ve been to England twice. Once as an exchange student in college and 28 years later with my family,

14. I’ve also been to Italy,

15. And to Scotland,

16. And to Ireland,

17. And to the Emergency Room!

18. I know the difference between men and women.

19. And I’m not afraid to stick my neck (and head) out when it comes to my kids.

20. But a lot of people think I have some funny ideas about how to go about getting married:

21. I worked for a while part-time as a scoreboard operator at the Metrodome for Twins, Vikings and Minnesota Gophers games, and the odd rock concert, Wrestlemania and tractor pull – some odder than others:

22. My life frequently resembles something out of Monty Python:

23. My 14-year-old daughter and co-blogger is already a prize-winning author!

24. My wife and daughters go out for coffee together every Friday morning and often “live-blog” the experience. I sometimes wonder just what has been poured into their stream of consciousness.

25. I’m tired.

55 random things

I was tagged by Gabrielle at I’m Free Now. The “55 Things Meme”:

55 Things
1. The phone rings; whom do you want it to be?
Ummmmmm, Publisher’s Clearinghouse.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?

3. If you had to kiss the last person you kissed, would you?
I think so.

4. Do you take compliments well?
Yes, thank you very much.

5. Do you play Sudoku?
Yes, but I’m not obsessed like some people I happen to live with.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
It seems unlikely.

7. Do you like nipple rings?
Never seen one up close and personal, if you know what I mean.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?

9. If a sexy person were pursuing you, but you knew he/she were married what would you do?
Cough, cough. That happens all the time. I just ignore it.
NW: Hey! *puff, puff* Come back here!

10. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
I’m married so I quit dating a few years ago.

Why I should be paid to blog

by the Night Writer

I am 11% Idiot.
Friggin Genius

I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do? I am smarter than most people.

I think I got dinged a little on my score because I answered “yes” to the question about whether I’m a manager. I was much smarter before that happened.

HT: Mr. Dilletante, by way of Anti-Strib.

Meme-ing of life

From Mitch. Nothing but one-word answers – and you can’t use any word twice:

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket.
2. Your significant other? Trophy.
3. Your hair? Distinguished.
4. Your mother? Cuba.
5. Your father? Missed.
6. Your favorite time of day? Night!
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten.
8. Your favorite drink? Coffee.
9. Your dream goal? Published.
10. The room you’re in? Living.
11. Your ex? Unlucky.
12. Your fear? Itself.
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Letterman.
14. What you are not? Emaciated.
15. Your Favorite meal? Most.
16. One of your wish list items? BIA-3.
17. The last thing you did? Laundry.
18. Where you grew up? Midwest.
19. What are you wearing? Smile.
20. Your TV is? Awesome.
21. Your pets? Noisy.
22. Your computer? Laptrap.
23. Your life? Python-esque.
24. Your mood? Whatever.
25. Missing someone? Yes.
26. Your car? Truck.
27. Something you’re not wearing? Tie.
28. Favorite store? Cabela’s.
29. Your summer? Missing.
30. Your favorite colour? Green.
31. When is the last time you laughed? Saturday.
32. When is the last time you cried? Wednesday.
33. Your health? Functional.
34. Your children? Keepers.
35. Your future? Golden.
36. Your beliefs? Biblical.
37. Young or old? Mature.
38. Your image? Graven.
39. Your appearance? Welcome.
40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? Yup.

Attention, World. May I have your attention, please?

There’s a meme going around that somehow or another has missed me so far (as far as I know). The “Message to the World” meme states: You have 150 characters to send a message to the world. Punctuation doesn’t count.

Ok, take a memo, Ms. Jones…

TO: World

FROM: The Night Writer

RE: Need I remind you

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:8

I’m not going to meme anyone else with this, but I will offer this assignment: Try to imagine what the blogosphere, not to mention the daily newspaper, cable news networks and nightly news, would look like if everyone followed this instruction for one day. Submit your descriptions in a comment below, or on your own blog. Extra points for writing sample scripts or articles demonstrating these elements.